Former Bleacher Report scribe Tom Schreier’s story is all-too familiar. An unpaid writer, he worked his way up the ranks, then expected to be considered for a paid writing gig for website content development.
That never happened.
Schreier wrote about his experiences with B/R in a recent post for Deadspin, another sports site. During his time at B/R, Schreier’s stories garnered 3 million hits, and he eventually earned the coveted title of Featured Columnist III .
With that was the expectation that he would be interviewed for a paid writing position with B/R. Instead, he got the runaround, and paid gigs typically went to outside writers – often big names in sports.
His story helps underscore the problems writers face. They simply don’t get paid well enough, and many are all-too-willing to take an unpaid job. For those writers, the carrots being dangled are exposure, experience and the eventual possibility of a paid position. The lesson learned here? Never work for free, whether you’re writing for the New York Times or for one of the many quality website content development services.
The Lowest-Paying Job
Of course, working as an intern is an exception to the rule. Internships offer experiences you can’t get in a classroom.
Beyond that? Never offer to write for free. Even if you feel it’s absolutely necessary – as in, a job offer depends on you churning out a sample article – then you have to set limits. Your time, after all, is valuable, even if you’re a novice writer.
Writers for years have received the short-end of the financial stick. 24/7 Wall St. recently did an analysis of the major occupations that earn less than $40,000 a year annually but typically require at least a bachelor’s degree. No. 1 on that list? Reporters and correspondents. The median wage was a paltry $34,530 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $20,000 per year. As CNN points out, journalists’ salaries are much lower than the $42,666 median annual salary for 2012 graduates.
With shrinking newsrooms, journalists are increasingly turning to digital marketing and blogging. But the competition for the higher-paying jobs is fierce, and the financial cup isn’t exactly overflowing, either. The higher-paying gigs pay upwards of $100 for a 500-word article, but the vast majority of these writing jobs pay far less, sometimes less than half a penny a word, even at quality website content development services.
Hone Your Craft
So what’s the solution? Write, write and write some more. The more you write, the better you become. With a little luck, you’ll eventually make a name for yourself and won’t have to take those low-paying assignments. Keep in mind, too, that big names sell newspapers or garner clicks. One of Schreier’s complaints was that the paying gigs at B/R often went to outsiders who were big names in their industry. But fact is, those people already have a following, fair or not.
Most veteran writers will tell you they’re not in it for the money. They write because they’re passionate about it. However, if you want to be one of those big names that command high-paying writing assignments, you have to learn how to hone your craft. And the only way you do that is by writing as often as you can – but never for free.
The ultimate goal of content marketing is offering your target audience information and materials that will engage them and motivate them to choose your business.
Seems easy, right?
Often, companies will simply share general content to please everyone. But let’s be honest: you can’t win them all. And that’s okay!
Rather than throwing a line and hoping the fish will bite, create Thought Leadership content strategically catered to your target market. Consider the people who would genuinely need or care about what your business offers, rather than wasting time, effort, and resources on creating general, unfocused content. Successful content marketing involves promoting your products and services to the people interested in the subject matter, who will read the content, click on your company website, and take action.
As an executive of an organization, you are a valuable piece of the brand. Consumers want to know about the human presence leading companies, in order to understand more about the company’s values and goals.
Take advantage of your position as an industry expert and share extra content to attract more attention to yourself as an industry leader and your company. Your quality content will build your reputation as a reliable voice to earn your consumer’s trust. However, if it’s not focused on your target audience, you won’t earn many conversions from your content.
Consider these techniques to guide your Thought Leadership content so it can expand and strengthen your loyal consumer following:
- Identify your target audience by reviewing your current consumer data and identifying who is investing in your business or reacting to your thought leadership materials so far. Look for trends to find why these people are interested and if others like them haven’t been reached yet.
- Conduct customer research to learn how they will respond to your thought leadership content. Request participation in surveys, polls, social media comments, and more to learn about your existing impression on your audience and how you can improve your platform.
- Create target audience character profiles. Identify their interests, demographics, pain points, needs, and desires, and write to them.
- Find where your current and potential audience is active online. Catch their attention by being active and sharing your content marketing materials on these platforms.
- Pull inspiration from other Thought Leader examples. Research other executives within your field who implement successful content marketing through their personal platforms. Learn what qualities make their content attractive and why readers respond to it positively. These examples can offer a base for you to visualize what you want to achieve.
- Recognize your strengths as a Thought Leader. Often, leaders aren’t necessarily aware of the unique talents that give them an advantage in their industry until asked. Reflect on what topics you know best and how to input your insights to humanize your materials, make them original and more engaging for your audience.
Case Study: How Strategic Content Marketing Can Broaden Your Audience
In our client strategy calls, our team will interview our expert clients to learn about their industry expertise and find out what’s meaningful to them, their business, and then identify who we believe to be their target audience. We use these insights to inspire our content subject matter and tone to create impactful content for their current and potential consumers.
For example, our client, Dr. Nitin Desai, approached our strategy team to create content to promote his COVID Pre-Check app. His innovative software is intended to help employers ensure their employees who enter the office are COVID-free, providing a safe environment by eliminating the chance of spread.
Our team of strategists recognized that with Dr. Desai’s thorough professional knowledge around the COVID-19 virus, he had the potential to become a reliable voice in a culture of people seeking answers. We created content for Dr. Desai that focused on sharing COVID-related insights to reach a wider audience, which has been a successful mission. Our thoroughly planned content reflected his industry expertise, which brought him attention from various media outlets and publications, including Forbes.
By reaching out to our professional content marketing team, Dr. Desai achieved his goal of promoting his groundbreaking app, while also positioning himself as an authoritative voice in his field. Our team learned about his voice, discovered what was meaningful to him and his target audience, and optimized this to create focused, engaging content that broadened his consumer scope.
Ready to Invest In Your Article-Writing.co Thought Leadership Package?
At Article-Writing.co, we understand that you have a lot on your plate. Let us share your voice on your behalf, so you don’t need to add more time to your busy schedule to write your own content marketing. Our strategists and creators will develop a plan to create engaging materials to represent your Thought Leader brand through your own specialized Thought Leadership Package.
Let us help you strengthen and broaden your consumer base for continued professional success. Book a call today.